The Cardinals confirmed this afternoon that they have signed free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta. According to reports, the deal is a four year contract worth $53 million. The 31-year-old Peralta was a free agent after a three-year stint in Detroit where he hit .278/.334/.438 with 45 HRs and 204 RBI.
His stay there was capped off by a 50 game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis scandal. He would return during the playoffs for Detroit and hit .333/.353/.545 in 10 playoff games with the Tigers.
Despite the scandal, he was one of a few heavily courted free agents because of the shortages of quality shortstops. He had drawn interest from the Mets, Yankees, and Orioles.
Peralta is clearly an offensive improvement over the guy he is replacing, Pete Kozma, who hit .217/.275/.273 last season while Peralta hit .303/.358/.457 in an abbreviated career year. Even if he regresses to his career averages of .268/.330/.425, he is still a marked improvement for the Cardinals offensively at the shortstop position. Continue reading
There’s been a lot of discussion over the past few days about Alexei Ramirez and Pete Kozma since a Chicago Tribune article indicated that the Cardinals have attempted to pry Ramirez away from the White Sox. Bernie Miklasz, Derrick Goold, and other writers have weighed in on their opinions. Most call Kozma the better defensive shortstop and Ramirez only slightly less worse than Kozma at the plate. And sure, I’ll admit that when you look at the numbers on the surface, Kozma does appear to be the better fielder.
Kozma has committed just 4 errors and an 11.0 UZR/150. Ramirez has 17 errors and an 8.5 UZR/150.
So yeah, when you look at the numbers, Kozma has better statistics than Ramirez. But what do those statistics really mean? Continue reading
Last night it was quite active on Twitter and he even got boos in the stadium, the Nationals fans hate Pete Kozma. And all I can do is laugh about it. It’s like, what did Pete Kozma ever do to them? Only got a critical hit to beat them in Game 5 of last season’s National League Divisional Series. That’s not exactly a boo-able offense.
Calling your team whiners? Sure. Calling your star pitcher a fake? Yep. Kicking your backup catcher in the head and ending his career? That too. Spurn their advances for an extension and sign with another team? Nope. Getting a critical hit in a playoff game? No.
If the shoe had been on the other foot and a Nationals player had gotten a hit to finish a massive comeback and win the series, all I could do is tip my cap to that player and the team. They beat us. That’s their job. They didn’t insult us, they didn’t hurt us, they didn’t showboat, they just did their job. So I’m a little confused as to why there is such animosity towards Kozma. It makes no sense to me.
It’s been a theme for the Cardinals all season. Missed opportunities. The most glaring from this afternoon being a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the seventh with no outs. Ground balls from Allen Craig and Yadier Molina ended the inning without the Cardinals scoring to extend their 2-1 lead. At that point, the momentum swung firmly in the direction of the Nationals.
In the top of the eighth, Mitchell Boggs came in and it all began to unravel for the Cardinals. A tough bounce resulted in a fielding error by Pete Kozma allowed Michael Morse to reach base. Ian Desmond singled to move Morse to third. Danny Espinosa sacrificed Desmond to second. With runners at second and third, Boggs managed to strike out Kurt Suzuki for the second out of the inning. It appeared the Cardinals might escape the inning.
The left handed hitter Chad Tracy was announced as the pinch hitter. Mike Matheny went to the mound and brought in Marc Rzepczynski, the only lefty reliever on the St. Louis roster. His last appearance, he allowed a double to Jason Heyward before getting out of the inning against a right hander. Of course, when Rzepczynski came into the game, Nationals manager Davey Johnson went back for right handed hitter Tyler Moore.
As my Dad told me last night, “I was expecting a Wild Card Game, not a wild Cards’ game.” Major League Baseball’s first Wild Card Game, certainly lived up to the wild factor. The 94 win Atlanta Braves were facing off against the 88 game St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field on Friday evening with a National League Divisional Series berth on the line.
Facing off for the game was the Braves’ Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57) and the Cardinals’ Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86).
Medlen was the starter of note, because the Braves had won 23 consecutive games that Medlen had started, dating back to May 29, 2010. The streak was interrupted by Tommy John surgery and he started this season in the bullpen for the Braves.
Lohse was the quieter of the pair, despite being one of the top pitchers in the National League all season. He led the Cardinals’ rotation in ERA this year. A rotation that was the fourth best in baseball. He had also never won a playoff start going into this game, having a career postseason ERA of 5.12 in 31 2/3 innings. Last year during the Cardinals’ playoff run, he allowed 11 runs in 12 2/3 innings.